FORGET ENGLAND’S World Cup woes, Rooney’s off-pitch antics and the ever-growing number of injuries in the Arsenal squad – Konami is here to make things alright.
It’s well known that the classic Pro Evolution Soccer games are much-loved by an assortment of team players – whether it’s students, devout football followers or even those who don’t traditionally play video games.
The long-running franchise may not have always shared the quality of commentary, menu music and official football team licences that its rival boasts, but in all honesty, it doesn’t need them. The PES series has instead garnered respect for its depth of gameplay, tactical elements and sheer pick-up-and-play appeal.
And with a slight drop in critical reception over the past couple of years, Konami is promising to get PES 2011 back on top of its game. The publisher’s European PES team leader Jon Murphy tells MCV: “PES is and always has been a key title for Konami. PES 2011 is by far the most radical revamp the series has seen in its history, and early word is that the series is back on top of its game.
“The die-hard fan base is raving about the new direction, and the print press is also incredibly positive about the strides the new game has made.”
One of the key changes to gameplay is the ‘engineered for freedom’ technology that Konami’s Winning Eleven Productions has incorporated in PES 2011. By combining a mix of 360-degree passing and an individual power bar for each player on the pitch, users have total control over where and how hard they place each pass, shot and throw.
In addition, a new tactical system allows gamers to make instant changes to their teams via a drag and drop system. This removes the need to plough through reams of menus that hindered previous instalments of PES.
Murphy adds: “The new system allows total freedom of control over the game, removing any AI interference – making for a totally different experience.
“Every area of PES 2011 has been overhauled, making for the deepest and most playable football title out there.”
MASTERS OF THE GAME
The series’ popular single-player ‘Master League’ mode is being taken online for the first time in PES 2011. Users can compete with other managers across the internet, with gamers able to bid against each other for the world’s top football players in order to put together the best 11-man squad.
Other improvements include a tweaked difficulty level, new camera angles showing off the revamped graphics engine and – thankfully – an all-new commentary process that promises to provide a less repetitive overview of the action on pitch. The AI of referees, goalkeepers and defenders also get a boost to ensure matches are as enjoyable and as even as possible.
PES 2011 boasts over 1,000 new animations, with little touches such as players limbering up, subtle movements both on and off the ball and a myriad of skillful feints. Users can even customise their own dribbling techniques and map them to the right stick for ease of use.
The game features a revamped throw-in system and ‘Become a Legend’ mode – where players can create their own individual star, choose a position and add attributes to help him become an international hero. The Copa Libertadores – South America’s illustrious football competition – also makes its way to PES for the first time.
Fans of the series will be pleased to hear that Konami has acquired a number of new official licences for PES 2011, including top club sides such as Bayern Munich. These join the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan in the game’s bolstered UEFA Champions Leage and UEFA Europa League modes.
With its broad range of gameplay tweaks and additions, Konami is setting itself up for a win with the release of its latest PES game.
PES 2011 arrives in stores on October 8th for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, with Wii, PS2 and PSP versions of the game to follow.
GETTING THE CROWD GOING
Konami is pulling PES players and football fans in with a wide-reaching marketing campaign.
A huge PR print campaign is underway with ads appearing in specialist, online, football and lifestyle publications.
Developer interviews, game footage and previews are already in circulation online, and websites will feature banners and PES 2011 micro-sites nearer release.
An advertisement showcasing all new gameplay elements in PES 2011 will run on a number of popular TV channels.
Konami promises a massive indoor presence with a range of POS materials for retailers, along with bespoke merchandise on offer.
A poster campaign is primed for the game’s release, raising exposure in cities across the UK.